Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong on the Mekong River – Fast or Slow Boat to Luang Prabang?


What’s cracking? I sit here on the edge of the Mekong which separates Thailand and Laos in a small border town called  Chiang Khong in this quaint and dare I say “splendid” guest house. The dining room is filled with an international crowd and the beer is flowing almost as fast as the river itself. At my table there is a lady from France, another from Spain and a gent from the Czech Republic, indeed.

I feel like a guy who didn’t want to drink last night so he ended up drinking coke, then not being able to sleep until 6AM which was conveniently 2 hours before his alarm went off. I got my shots at this private hospital. Once again private hospitals make you wait and over charge, this was most expensive shot yet, 800 baht total, others were all ~400-440. At least they had rabipur, should of asked for clean syringes if I want to keep going north, whatever.

Took the local bus for ~210baht from Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong, it took 7 hours.

Get to the final destination, there is this lady with a flyer… I just got a double room, free ride to the border and free wifi for 130 baht a night, HA! As you can see I enjoy letting bygones be bygones, whatever that means. I mean just going with the flow and letting details take care of themselves. There is a big international crew just hanging out here now as most of us are similar travelers. There was a few dorks on the bus but they had already pre-booked like they were scared it was New Years in NYC and they wouldn’t get a room.

Slow boat or speed boat to Luang Prabang Laos!?

Slow: 1200 baht or so.

– 2 days, 7 hours each crammed like a sardine moving at a snails pace

– 1 nights stay out of your pocket in a place known for rats and thieves

– Boring people who want to read a book or something and watch the Mekong.

– Probably going to make me want to drown myself as it’s sitting on park benches and the guest house owner said it’s TIGHT as in they really pack you in.

– Leaves once a day at 11AM.

Fast Boat: ~1800 baht

– 6-7 hours speeding like mad men down the mekong

– crammed like sardines, even worse than fast boat

– more hardcore people who like adventure

– LP says it’s dangerous but the owner says it’s fine

– Sounds like an adventure and a good time.

It’s COLD like Ottawa in the fall here, 2 day and 1 night in a rat town sound pretty depressing to this gent. I know you don’t want to hear this, but this is the coldest I’ve been since last winter. All I can say is winter is for suckers, I woke up today and was cold, I didn’t want to get into my shower, I remembered via vivid techno colored flash backs of getting into a shower then freezing getting out before having my head turn to an ice block to do some job that was slowly stealing my individuality.

I’m reading a book called the wealth revolution, it’s not some cheesy self help book. It discusses the major revolutions in wealth creation that have affected mankind, first agriculture and the gents who controlled the output building palaces and other grandiose affairs, then the industrial revolution and finally, where we are today… The knowledge revolution of sorts.

If you want to get really primitive think the plow, the assembly line and now the computer.

This third revolution is JUST getting the party started, time and space mean different things and traditional work is going “out the door”. Just so you know, the nuclear family which is 1 dad who works, a mom who stays home and 2 kids represents something ridiculous like 20% of the population now, when it used to dominate.

Enough about this, I have some thinking to do. The only pro of the slow boat is I could maybe read this book while I go. That said in true “stop having a boring life” fashion, I will not even think of this whatsoever until it’s time to make a decision and then I will most likely take the fast boat, fast boat baby, ride or die. That said, this lady from France is trying to convince me to take the slow boat with her…

Supposedly Luang Prabang is expensive and really touristy, this guy next to me is “going out in the wild”, I may I join him.

Tips hat,


  1. the french girl

    February 2, 2010 at 7:12 am

    Yeahhh… it is actually pretty hard to convince mister canada-stop having a boring life- coz mister C is more interested by the live or death question on the crazy fast boat than taking some good slow time on the slow with a french girl =) Yeahhh its up to him =)…

  2. Jworthy

    February 2, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Can you hook a brother up with the Author of that book you mentioned? I briefly searched the title but the closest hit was “Revolutionary Wealth.” I would be grateful for any help, good sir.

  3. lindsay

    February 2, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    let’s review: escaped losing your leg to a staph infection escaped dying from rabies
    and you’re considering the fast boat while you have the option of reading a good book
    and travelling with a girl from france. trade accordingly.

  4. damon

    February 3, 2010 at 4:48 am

    having opted for the fast boat 8 years ago on my trip up the mekong i have to vehemently encourage you to choose ‘slow’ over ‘fast’.
    1- if you like your hearing or body choose slow
    2- if you enjoy seeing life slowly pass you by choose slow
    3- if you like interacting with local life choose slow
    4- if you choose fast you will wish you had chosen slow.
    do with this as you will. me i am sitting in the airport in guatemala city waiting for my flight and dreading the cold. such is life. be well.

  5. KiDQUiCK

    February 3, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Excellent comments so far 🙂
    The bygone idiom means to forget the past & press forward.
    First video was awesome… great footage & music.

  6. Rob

    February 3, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Couldn’t help myself!!!! Everything you guys said is true though. That said, no regrets it was a trip. I felt alive!!

    Revolutionary Weath is the name J.

  7. Rob

    February 3, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    I thought I was outta like with the bygones ha oh well, let’s just let bygones be bygones, better?

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